Fans experience a small taste of Belgium

Published February 14, 2007

Cyclocross fans and their families enjoyed Sunday's pleasant weather conditions by spreading blankets and pitching tents around the Florida State Cyclocross Championship course at Largo Nature Preserve.

Sounds and smells could have come from Belgium as spectators rang cowbells all around the wooded course. They knew they were watching Florida cycling history being made.

A few seasons ago, a bicycle racer named Lance Riddile dreamed up the idea of the state's first USA Cycling sanctioned cyclocross series for all rider categories.

For months, Riddile busied himself with an improved course design along with the details of permitting, sanctioning, awards, sponsorship and championship jerseys for the podium presentations.

"It did take a lot of work, but by no means would I want to take all the credit," Riddile said after Sunday's races.

"We do this because we love the sport, and it was a total team effort in this cycling community. The sport of cyclocross is growing in this country. I am proud to be a part of it. Local shops and teams pitched in big time to help me, and there were so many who helped us setting up the course since last December."

The awards party included live music and Belgian beer and waffles.

Some of the winners said they are considering heading to nationals next year, giving Florida's USA Cycling district a talented representation for the first time.

They include: Paul Kavan of Tampa; Hank Campbell of St. Petersburg; Jack Rich of Sarasota; top Junior Brad Andringa of St. Petersburg; Elizabeth Morris Hill of St. Petersburg; Robin Kavan of Tampa; Jennifer Turner of Clearwater; the Junior team of Cody Sandford, Brandy Odum, Grayton Odum and Savannah Odum of Clearwater; Junior E.J. Addler of St. Petersburg; Dillon Parrot, Carolyn Ammons, Masters 45-plus winner Kurt Leverett, Sean Morey and Frank Mandaro.

FLORIDA CUP: This weekend features races in Pasco County. The purse of more than $10,000 guarantees a huge turnout of the Southeast's best USA Cycling racers.

The Florida Cup Race For Humanity Road Race will be at 8 a.m. Saturday with categories of Masters, Juniors, Women, Category 4, Pro 1-2, Category 3 and Category 5/Novice. The course will be a 17-mile hilly loop on rural county roads.

At 8 a.m. Sunday in Dade City will be the Race For Humanity Criteriums for Juniors. Masters will race at 9 followed by Women, Pro 1-2, Kids, Category 3, 4, and 5/Novice.

Registration for both begins at 7 a.m race day. For details, call 352 588-2453.

CHILLY WILLY DUATHLON: Hundreds competed in the fourth annual Chilly Willy Duathlon (run 5 kilometers, bike 10 miles and run 5 kilometers) at Fort DeSoto Park North Beach.

Tampa's Eric Hall, 28, won in 1 hour, 4 minutes, 51 seconds. Kathy Frailing, 40, of Tampa, successfully defended her women's title in 1:11:53. Full results are at www.chillywillydu.com.

Race directors Joe Fernandez and Freddie Rzymek also will host the Escape From Fort DeSoto Triathlon XXI at 7:30 a.m. April 14 at Fort DeSoto Park North Beach.

Distances for this season's opening sprint triathlon (sanctioned by USA Triathlon) are swim half-mile, bike 10 miles and run 4 miles.

Registration is 4 to 7 p.m. April 12 and 2 to 7 p.m. April 13 at Bill Jackson Shop For Adventure, 9501 U.S. 19 North, Pinellas Park, and 6 to 7:30 a.m. race day at Fort DeSoto Park.

Early registration is recommended because triathletes often also come for the St. Anthony's Triathlon, which this year is April 27-28. For details, call Fernandez at (813) 874-7223 or go to www.altavistasports.com.

2007 rosters of local cycling teams can be sent to Jessica Mundie at sptimes cycling@yahoo.com.